“To reach the campaign's goal, we need victories on the field of battles. Those are achieved with a better army than the enemies. Better, here, means quality, and that is costly. So we need a working economy, and that requires a flourish society. We have none in the beginning. But our Julian will change that.” Gore Vidal, sort of.
(seriously though, if you can read his Julian while playing, it’s an even better experience)


NOTE&ABBREVIATIONS:
some strategies here might be considered cheating, a mixture between some sentimentalism and ruthless “ratio”. Po:public order, lvl:level, mp:movement points, exp:experience, garr:garrison, cor:center of recruitment, mercs:mercenaries, infl:influence, vht:very high taxes, upk:upkeep. Last but not least, English is not my 1st language, so indulge (and correct) me. This is my debut using this site, sorry for some "excessive boxing" An history nerd living near Aquileia.



"Where’s the MONEY?"Walter White, Comes Rerum Privatarum, looking at the government budget.
Here:

Unfortunately, the blue sky is only above us. Our imperator looks at his relative Constantine: take the gold from the temples. We are meaner than him, so we’ll destroy them, getting (partially) rid of XPinfl (except Gades, Attalia and Trapezus: we don’t have enough garr/po buildings). Why partially? Because generals, agents and ancillaries have a role here too.

We’ll need to act swiftly:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

Like so:


1: you’ll notice here that I have also destroyed the garr building. Why? I’m a devious POS: we’ll have a “controlled uprising” by the time the temple is done. They won’t be able to recruit good units, we’ll crush them quickly (ballistae for instant siege) and easily, loot for funding our quest.

Let's answer the previous question:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
That fleet up there is not to be disbanded (repel Saxon/Franks invasions), the other ones, some can be (leave just 1 bireme for “parking XP or unloyal guys or ferry troops).

What other buildings….

to destroy?
a few ideas:
Constantinople amphitheatre (even with vh taxes you’ll have enough po), A. Treverorum large baths (it’s already a huge city, + enough po like before), magna/parva villa rustica, blacksmith (except fabricae) EVERYWHERE, aqueducts in Rome, Alexandria, Constantinople, AT, Antiochia, Nicomedia, Verona (not yet, soon if needed)…
Garr building (for our controlled uprisings) in Aureliani, Lutetia, Hadrumetum, Russadir, Cartenna, Tingis (after 1 turn, recruit 8 units of milites exculcatores[takes 0turns!]+1 of funditores). Since they’ll rebel, vht to squeeze every single Aureus we can.

…to build?
In general, we’ll go for S Invictus (if we need pop grow->higher tax lvl [e.g. Palma]) or Neoplatonic temple, except...

Port$ lvl 1, because:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
NOTE: Ephesus not Halicarnassus
Small Gymnasium in Mediolanum, Argentorate, Sirmium, Singidum, Marcianopolis, Amida, Damascus. NOTE that in this mod some buildings have prerequisites (S Gymnasium>Forum>Communal farming>streets), for +1exp (they’re cor)

Wooden walls in the 2 SW cities in England
Garr buildings in Bracara, Caralis,Toledum, Rhodes and Crete (funditores from Athens [the new garr building will give us exp 3] via boat near Constantinople, 1 Vigiles if necessary from Ephesus)

Ballista ranges
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

Reduce corruption
Move the capital to Rome (this is a nostalgic move, probably Tarentum or Dyrrachium are more centered, I haven’t tested it).
Diplomacy
Sell geographic info to EVERYONE ASAP, you can reach Berbers, Franks, Saxons, Quadi, Vandals, Burgundians, Thervingi, Greuthungi, Armenians within 2 turns. 2100-2300coins, Lahkimids and Sassanids some more (Lak accepted to give me 3100) because trade rights. Send back to XP regions the pagan diplomats and put them inside cities (chances are they develop more traits and pagan influence). XP diplomats OUT!
Let’s talk military (police) AKA garr
Having secured frontiers means the interior doesn’t need strong units. Garr po bonus is calculated on the number of “policemen” we have.

Which means:DISBAND THE VIGILES URBANES everywhere, if you can outside your borders or in regions that will rebel (^controlled uprisings); the only case not to do that this turn is if you can’t swap them with other units; still, try anything else (lower taxes, more frequent games).
Hire everywhere you can the other two, be careful that the Payhadag drain the population quickly
(we need Amida to became a large city soon for the troops experience bonus, so tread lightly). Nisibi is already a large city so go ahead, Edessa could but it’s not a cor for serious troops as Amida, so again go ahead, Trapezus as well (reducing pop-> less squalor, more garr, more po, we’ll convert them faster).
Units in detail:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


We’ll swap the entire garr of the Middle East
(including Turkey and Egypt). On the Renan-danubian front we have some cheap barbarian units to use as garr as well (e.g. Suebi band, 240guys for 40 upk). There are also some good Gothic mercs already in our army*, use them as garr since you can’t retrain-replenish them after a battle. Speaking of *, disband Veterani Pedites/Eq.

Let’s talk military (and admin stuff, again)
NOTE: sentimentalism, I have not disbanded the units with some historic name (eg: legio VIIII something). The rest was not so lucky.

“Tempus fugit, Iuliane.”
Libanius, sort of.
“I hear you, Libanie”. We shall begin from Syria and then move clockwise (yes, the Romans had clocks).
Like so:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
Armenian frontier should be secure, but keep an eye on the city NE of Trapezus, the Huns might take it and come for you. Easy to slow them with forts. In the East, the Sassanids might be tempted to attack us if they see a weak spot. Let’s block them.Might seem like nothing, but the forts buy us some turns. Army in Sass land is there only to be disbanded, and intel.
Speaking of army:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

So you’ll spend 390/turn for a unit that, if damaged, have to retrain in a place 5-6 turn away. We could send them to the Danube front, but it ain’t worth the time, nor the dime.
Let’s just disband them (here * if you take only the cav [yes, the Promotii as well] you can reach that rebel region now).

Why “Holy Grail”? You can recruit Eq. Parthii in Antiochia with lvl 4 exp and 2 melee/missile. They are the Spet Xion of the LoTW campaign with the White Huns (though less effective in melee). We’ll have one of them in the recruitment queue ALWAYS. The rest of the space is for retrain all the other units in this zone, starting….with them: 8 units+ a general (that will spend this 1st turn on a boat, give him the appropriate ancillaries, Jovianus here will be an excellent Alexandria gov, after a long boat trip) will be enough to conquer the rebels settlement in Sinai, Nabataea.

1) legio comitatenses saggitarii: Amida (soon with 2 experience), Alexandria, 2) saggitarii lorica squamata: Damascus (soon 2 exp), Palmyra, 3) funditores Carrhae, Aelia Capitolina, Bostra. RECRUIT YOUR TURN0 GARR THIS TURN, + your “serious unit”.

Lybia east:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




Libia west:
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Africa


“Oh boy.” Gordian I before losing his head, probably.

Recruit your t0 garr+funditores, in Saldae fill the queue with just them (since we can’t t0 here; less pop more po)

Like so:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
1) disband the trireme, move 1 bireme in HippoR port, 2) move all the generals in the Carthage boat, the HippoR guy in C, give him all the retinues with influence, his dux retinue REDUCE admin>give that to XPboy and move XP on the boat as well 3) move this guy on the square, build a fort then send him on the boat in HippoR 4) same as before, then towards Saldae
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
(don’t use all the mp!+he’s pagan), hire mercs>to Saldae now, 5) disband all the camels, eq mauri keep if exp>0, 6) move that general to the PORT (he stays in a revolting city, he risks dying). Next turn we’ll send: +him to NovaC (swap the merchant retinue with XPguy there); +the C boat with 2 t0garr unit to Sicily (swap and disband local garr).



Mauretania
You’ve almost restored the Limes Africae:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

NOTE: you just need 1unit per fort! Purpose of these forts is to avoid rebels occupying our garr-less cities.
1) A bireme in NovaC, one in Corduba, one here * 2) move>fort>move>fort, move general to navy 3) move>fort>ship 4) general>ship. 5) as above, move the troops towards Gades>E Augusta (refitting)



Spain
Generals: NovaC>ship; Toledum>Gades region (yes it’ll use all his mp, but he’s XP, and since Gades is XP for some more time) Spy: recruit in Corduba (finger crossed he’ll be pagan, otherwise boat), send the one there in NovaC.
Units disband eq mauri and Tarraco garr in NovaC (since we’ll recruit here our t0garr, no harm done from more pop), send 1 eq auxilia to Tarraco (1 army troop cheaper and with more men than the Vigiles), 1 + catafractarii to Corduba. 3 NW cities: disband all Vigiles (except one in Bracara) in the E. Augusta region (1 legio from Toletum is enough po)


Britain



“Enough rain, I’m going back south, vale!” Constantine leaving Britannia.

He knows he leaves it well guarded with…
Atta-boy

Atta-boy


He's an excellent pagan and gov.
Move him to Cerdices, pass his retinue (-1admin), book the mercury shrine (1 turn, city will be besieged, also be sure that Attalus is in charge of gov), then move him back to L. C dude now, in details:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
1)He'll go to Eburacum, delivering his recently acquired retinue to the guy there, then go make forts as shown, same for 2), but this one will also recruit mercs. Move 1 unit in front of the forts, chance is enemy will attack them and then be blocked by the fort (can’t make to Eburacum, it’s just that the AI can’t see our forts). Any experienced unit not needed, send them towards E. The squares signal where you should build the next forts ASAP, guy1 can then go back to E, guy2 will stay in the fort he’s currently in (big red arrow. he’s +not on the front line, so won’t be besieged; +out of our border so no XPinfl; +able to recruit mercs if one fort falls)





Rhine line

“Stulte!” legatus to Varus, just before dying.


No clades Variana for us, thank you:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
Note: Ravenna not Bononia
Move the assassin to Samarobriva for this turn, then London. If you’re lucky, you’ll assassinate the Saxon guy (sometimes even 45% is enough). Diplomat to full yellow star (sell geointel) then to the other one (ready to go to the Saxon, provide pagan infl for S region).
Spy, use him, we need the Emperor to level up some good traits (agents recr discount).

1) general>fort, recruit Frankish band (sent them towards Samarobriva, good garr) fort. He can stay there for this turn, then boat; 2) general>forts then back to AT, send the milites to relieve the garr of “orange circle” forts, DISBAND along all the line the Foederati (350upk, too much); 3) guy>fort>Durocorturum; 4) send the XPguy to the boat, pass his retinue to the pagan by his side; 5) guy in Argentorate>forts>Ag; 6) guy>fort>move him just before the border with Lugdun, hire mercs (send them to SW Gaul), to Milan.

AG, AT are cor, the former for Equites Sagitarii, the “Holy Grail western edition”(and for this turn, 8 t0 garr numerus exculcatores, pop loss will be counterbalanced disbanding every A. superventores, A. Palatinae[Mattiaci,Leoni>you find them in armies 4]) the latter for the A Palatina Sagitarii (a similar unit can be recruited in Arelate). Any unit of Eq Dalmatii in the area, towards Rome (lvl 3 missile, then Balkans). Armies 4) towards retrain in AT or Med, 2-3 units of h inf&cav+general will be enough to retake our “controlled rebellion”.



Italy

“Where’s the wine?” average opening conversation here.


Here the game is a refined movement of guys and retinues:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
1) move the starting XP Medguy to that spot. He’ll meet with the Ravenna guy. BEFORE you move Rg, put in the construction’s queue trade buildings (slave trade) and p.o (mercury). Now move him to Mg, pass the retinue to him and then R boat (1 bireme, disband the rest). Rome: move A. Ruf to Arretium, pass the military retinue to TF, move TF 1 clickN and hire the 2 Numerii, send them to the “white star” bireme (detach and disband the other one in Rome), sail to Corsica (1 in the city, disband the local garr, the other to Sardinia). Now move TF 1 clickN (just like in the picture, check that he has enough mp to arrive in Rome). Pass his military retinues to the Mg (which you move to TF now). Mg gives TF his admin retinues, then go back in Emilia. He’ll use all his mp, amen (next turn, Ravenna boat). Move back TF to Arretium, book the buildings (ports, then tabernae, streets, temples) then send him to Rome.



Danube line

“If only this river was larger” Aurelian, probably.


We’ll remedy that
1red) move GaudentiusF&ValensF to the bridge, swap the retinue (GF->VF) GF go west, VF east (move him carefully, avoid being blockaded, construct those forts, he’ll stay behind the frontline, the garrisoned fort in the picture)2red) use the guy in that fort to build forts as you see. Next turn he’ll be gov of Paetovia. Leave that unit in between to lure the enemy: he’ll attack it, we retreat, he’ll be stuck between forts.

GF->hire cavmercs, send them carefully west. We need to “fall in the ambushes” to make those Quadians armies move from the way.
1orange) move those 2 as shown, the orange one starts. We’ll have now space to send the Sirmium general…as you can see from 2orange) he’s blocked at first, but if you build a fort you’ll be free. Before that, hire a lot of mercs (finger crossed for the mercaptain retinue).
We’ll use the [3orange] young (other one to Dyrrachium) guy to make more forts in the area (repeat the trick on the left side of the Sirmium bridge then all the up-right orange circle).
Sirmium and Singidum are cor (sagittarii, Eq sagitarrii respectively) send them to Rome (use Adriatic boats as ferry) for lvl3 missile till the one in Constantinople is done. R&C will recruit Onagers (Rome starting now). In a few turns will position all this missile units (plus the lvl3 exp&missile funditores) with a few h inf on the bridges.



Danube mouth&Crimea

“Ovid is dead, please” Tomis citizen pleading to Huns.


They won’t cross the Danube this time:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

White star=one bireme +for the guy in Pergamum>send him towards Trapezus; + to Athens, +to Cport (ferry emperor to Nicomedia, NOT YET)

1) Disband the awful (archers too) units in the rebel zone, move our guy, hire 2-3 mercs (costly one, since they’ll take attrition in Panticapeum, you’ll take it without a fight, garr is outside) send him as N as you can without ending his mp: he’ll make a fort barrier as shown.

Use your diplomat to scout those Goths (guess I’ve ruined the surprise, eh?) sell geointel and use him as spy (he’s XP).

NOTE: look at the generals in this area, I describe them here only by initials.

Constantinople: move MF to AF. Switch all admin retinue to MF, military to AF. MF to Hadrianopolis, book 1 building (MF will admin C, so he’ll be there any time he’s needed) then back to C.
Move JF 1clickN on the crossroads, move AF to him. Give JF exploratore's retinue to him, then send AF to Marcianopolis, pick up the military retinue from the guy there and then move him to the boat.
G to the fort across Danube, he’ll relive the guy up there and take his military retinue. This one to Marcianopolis. Guy in Marcianopolis to Hadrianopolis.
Marcianopolis is cor for the Sarmatian armoured archers (also available as mercs, recruit them whenever you can), the last “Holy Grail“ unit. Since we’ll need to upgrade it to large city (barracks, +1exp) this will be the only settlement with low taxes.



Proof that it works:

Before hitting the end turn for the first time, you should be looking at something
like this:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



3rd turn start:
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Buying time, reoccupying the forts:
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Sinai taken, next stop Cnodomar city thanks to ballistae. Captain Vibius, reinforced with archers from Eburacum, will wipe out the Saxons (though Londinium general will guide him).
Ave atque vale:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: